Many years after Jonah, both Israel and Judah are defeated by foreign invaders. Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, was left in ruins. Generations later, some of the people of Judah are allowed to return to the land, but the city is still in ruins. Nehemiah hears of this and begins to pray. He reminds God of the promises He has made to His people and asks God for help.
Praying before taking action is a great pattern. It demonstrates that we depend more on God than ourselves. Actions are required too, and we will see Nehemiah doing that later, but the actions should be built on a foundation of God’s promises from the Bible.